Preventing Youth Drug and Alcohol Use

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Chair

There’s no better time than today for youth drug prevention. We are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. It can feel overwhelming to spend more time at home with your loved ones. How do you manage remote learning, working from home, and keeping the peace and sanity of your home? For many people during this time, alcohol has been what they have sought out to cope with the changes brought on by the pandemic, but that does create problems as well. According to the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, sales of alcohol jumped 13.51%, or $17.3 million, from March 1 to May 13, compared to the same time period last year. This can translate to youth watching their parents use alcohol as a means of coping with stress. It can also translate to more access to alcohol for minors. What can you do to practice prevention messaging at home? Here are some tips: 

  • Talk to your children about alcohol consumption and set rules for your home. Set up consequences if rules are broken with your children so everyone is one the same page. 
  • Be mindful of your alcohol consumption. Your kids are watching.
  • Never drink and drive. Secure a designated driver ahead of time.
  • Secure your alcohol at home. Do you have a locked cabinet for your alcohol and or medications? Denying access to alcohol and medications is a way to keep your children safe.
  • If you have beer or wine in the fridge, do you know how much you have, and would you be able to know if any were missing?
  • Practice coping skills with your child (such as breathing exercises, talking about feelings, taking a walk, etc.). There are many positive ways of coping with stress. 

Red Ribbon Week takes place every year during the last week of October (October 23-31). During this week, we talk about drug prevention and how to be mentally and emotionally healthy. Red Ribbon Week is the largest drug prevention event celebrated throughout the country. Schools all over the country participate in Red Ribbon Week. This year things might be a little different, but the desire for drug-free and healthy kids is the same. The theme for this year’s Red Ribbon Week is “Be Happy, Be Brave, Be Drug-Free.” There is no better time to focus on mental and emotional health than right now. Visit https://www.redribbon.org/ for more information and resources and activities for Red Ribbon Week.

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